Walking a Mile in a Reluctant Reader’s Shoes

For the past few days I feel like I have been walking in the shoes of some of my more reluctant readers.  As a voracious reader, it is often difficult for me to imagine not enjoying a book.  I read constantly and widely, across many genres.  However, suddenly I am that reluctant reader.  During the summer I enjoy reading some of the adult books that I put aside during the school year in my quest to read the award winners before they are chosen.  This year, one of those books is Justin Cronin’s The Passage. I had heard a lot about this book and downloaded it onto my new iPad after school ended.  I have been attempting to read it for the last week and I feel like I am getting nowhere!

It is such a strange feeling for me, someone who loves reading.  I don’t know how to handle this.  The book is dragging for me.  It’s not that I don’t like the story- in fact, I love the world Cronin builds and the premise is fascinating.  Yet, I drag myself over to the book and have to force myself to read.  Once I read for a little bit I find myself pulled in again, but I also find myself constantly annoyed.  It’s a huge book and despite reading for a week, it’s like I have barely made a dent in the pages.  I am just under page 400 and there are 1400 pages in my ebook.  It’s like it will never end, which is discouraging as a reader.  I love the book and hate it, all at the same time.

As I’m reading I am trying to put myself in the shoes of my reluctant or struggling readers.  Is this how they feel when they are given a book?  How discouraging must it be to read for an extended period of time and feel like the book is never ending and you haven’t made any progress!  A lot of my colleagues and friends have read or are reading the book and I feel like there is peer pressure on me, making me want to finish the book.  But I also feel like I shouldn’t force myself to keep reading!  It’s quite a conundrum.  I also feel like the odd one out, because all the reviews I have read praise the book and refer to the edge-of-your-seat action.  Yet, I have to force myself to pick it up.

I do plan to finish the book, because the plot does fascinate me, even if the execution is dragging on forever.  I want to know what happens at the end!  But I am glad that I have been placed in the position because as teachers, I think it is important that we identify with all of our students.  One of the best ways to do that is to put ourselves in their shoes as often as possible.  I look forward to sharing my experience reading this book with my students once school starts up again.  I feel like it will serve as a bridge between myself and some of my reluctant readers.